Full disclosure: this wine is distributed here in Madrid by a good friend of mine and not only that but he gave me this bottle.
So feel free to take it with a pinch of salt when I tell you it is a cracking good little manzanilla. Floral, with plenty of the archetypal chamomile on the nose, and serious on the palate, with a whiff of white fruit backed up by a knitting needle of saline heat and grapefruit and a long, warm, lingering and mouthwatering finish. At the flowery, juicy end of the scale.
But of course you cannot in all conscience rely on the objectivity of this review so I suggest you get out and buy some.
The black swallows may or may not return to build their nests under my balcony but I am not going to miss much sleep over it while these three little beauties keep turning up on my doorstep. Another year and another edition of the Tres en Rama – Lustau’s great little boxed set showcasing the “terroir of the cellar”. A manzanilla de Sanlucar (cellared in Sanlucar), a fino de Jerez (cellared in Jerez) and a fino del Puerto (Puerto de Santa Maria), the three corners of the so-called sherry triangle.
First up, the manzanilla de Sanlucar. A nice rich en rama colour – no filtering here – a lovely apple, chamomile, sea breeze and haybale nose and the same punchy flavours on the palate before a saline, mouthwatering finish. Really opens the appetite.
Then second up (for me, but you can do as you please etc.) is the Fino de Jerez. This takes the haybales and sticks them in a farmyard, maybe with a bakery attached – all mulchy straw and yeasty bread on the nose and a sharper, zingier, more potent palate with a stinging hot, salty and watering end.
And last but by no means least, the fino del puerto. Here the sea breeze is full of the smells of rockpools and salty seaweed drying in the sun. The palate is again full of yeasty juice and bite, with a rich, juicy and mineral finish.
Superb stuff once again.
Have come across this a few times around Madrid in recent weeks – including with the man himself – but have just not had time to put thumbs to screen and bash out a post.
This is the “manzanilla olorosa” by Bodegas Alonso. An old style no longer officially recognized by the Consejo, it seems to fit in somewhere between manzanilla and manzanilla pasada. A more fragrant manzanilla, with a little oloroso character, which can be achieved in a variety of ways (as is so often the case in Jerez). In this wine it is achieved by giving the manzanilla eight months in an old oloroso butt. And it is certainly tasty stuff.
The first thing you notice about the wine is the bottle. If the standard velo flor bottle is tricky to rack, this magnum format looks even more of a wine storage headache. On the plus side, it would be hard to knock this bottle over in a breeze, and it looks pretty cool.
It’s a nice old gold colour in the glass, clear as a Madrid sky without quite shining. Then on the nose there is sea breeze, yeast and just that hint of baked apple, aromas that are backed up as it hits the tongue and back of the mouth.
A tasty, enjoyable manzanilla no doubt, and all the better for that brief stay in an old barrel.
It’s a surprisingly handsome bird the Northern Gannet – its Spanish name “Alcatraz Atlantico – does it more justice, but it is still not a patch on the wine it graces the label of.
This is yet another absolute beauty of a manzanilla off this formidable production line. Gorgeous gold colour, intensely herbal nose, a zingy, yeasty, and maybe a little jammy palate, then fading to bitter salad flavours and a spicey, salty finish.
Really remarkable how intense the flavours of these wines are. Top quality.
A fellas timeline has had more manzanilla lately than his waistline. Something had to be done, and although it may be a saca from the summer this is a perfect winter manzanilla – a bit burnt on top then real heat from the spicy sapidity and salinity.
Feisty stuff – is it feistier than usual or am I just out of practice? In any event I need to get back into practice
It is amazing to think how the world has changed in only a few years. In 2012 when the Blanco brothers and Ramiro Ibañez decided to put aside 11 botas of palomino after a bumper harvest at Callejuela there were very few “añada” wines knocking around – at least of this kind – and very few vineyard specific wines too. In fact I can still remember the excitement of waiting for that first bota to be bottled.
Nowadays there are a few more añada wines, and little by little you see more mentions of vineyards on labels, to the point where this little series has to share the limelight.
But the beauty of these wines is that they are not just from a specific vintage and place: they are eleven botas from a vintage and place that emerge year by year and show perfectly what that time in the bota can do.
This, the 4th bota to be bottled, has had nearly six years of static ageing and is an absolute beauty of a manzanilla. A rich nose of haybales and a hint of old apples, a sharp saline start, raw almonds with a suggestion of fruity oxidation on the palate and then that fresh, mouth-watering finish.
An absolute gem and I wish I had more of it. Roll on number 5!
Look at the colour of that. Rusty water, with a touch of rusty nail on the nose and palate (or is it suggestion?). Couldn’t help but think of the manzanilla en rama la Guita when I saw it, although unlike that second cousin this wine has acquired its colour from two years in the bottle – as you can see if you compare it to how it was two years ago.
Interesting to compare that note with this wine – this is still aromatic and yeasty, but a touch sour, slightly more mulchy haybales on the nose and a lower register in fruit flavours. Very enjoyable with the oxidation and a fun thing to try (here in Zalamero Taberna by the glass).
Delicious little bottle.